Just six months after Saudi Arabia’s Oxford Aviation Academy opened its doors to women and started accepting applications from Saudi women to train as pilots, its been revealed that Flynas, a domestic airline from the Kingdom, will begin recruiting female flight attendants— a first for Saudi carriers. The airlines, which was established in 2007, announced in a statement that the first flight with a Saudi air hostess would be during this month, after finishing a comprehensive practical program.
“The first group graduating from the Saudi flight program is a continuation of programs to localize aviation and empower women,” the company said. Requirements for those applying include at least secondary school education, height and weight that match the international aviation standards, and proficiency in English. All applicants must be Saudi nationals, of course.
Additionally, the Riyadh-based airline revealed future plans to start recruiting Saudi women to work as co-pilots. “The move aims to enable Saudi women to have a greater role in supporting the Kingdom’s economy,” stated Bander Al-Mohanna, CEO of Flynas.
The news comes less than a year after the Kingdom lifted its decades-old driving ban on female motorists in June 2018. The lifting of the longstanding driving ban was part of Vision 2030, a post-oil blueprint for Saudi helmed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that aims to, among diversifying the Kingdom’s economy away from oil, increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 22% to 30%.
Last January, Eqbal Darandari, a member of the Saudi Shura Council, called on national airlines to empower women by creating jobs. “We’ve seen Saudi women piloting aircraft outside the kingdom. Now it’s time for [Saudi Arabia’s aviation authority] to take the initiative. Saudi women deserve to find work in their own country,” he said at the time. Allowing women to become flight attendants is certainly a leap in the right direction.